Former Activision SVP Joins Oculus VR Team as COO

Virtual reality firm Oculus VR said on Wednesday that former senior vice president and head of development at Activision Blizzard Laird M. Malamed has signed on as the firm's new chief operating officer.

Malamed joins the team after spending years overseeing blockbuster properties such as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and Skylanders. He also earned a reputation for successfully delivering high-quality consumer gaming hardware and AAA software into the hands of gamers, Oculus VR said on Wednesday.

"The opportunity to join Oculus and build the future of virtual reality gaming was too exciting to pass up," said Laird Malamed, COO of Oculus. "I look forward to being part of the team, creating a completely new medium for the video game industry and its many potential applications for the future."

Who could blame him for not passing up an opportunity to join Oculus VR? The firm's Oculus Rift headset stands to change not only the gaming industry, but possibly the way we compute. Imagine a three-dimensional desktop that could store files away in virtual cabinets rather than a flat desktop folder. Even more, imagine being so immersed in a game, you forget all about the controller in your hands.

According to Malamed's updated resume (pdf), he will be in charge of the "operational aspect of virtual reality gaming start up company, Oculus VR. Overseeing legal, finance, IT, logistics, hardware and HR functions for 20 person Kickstarted company that creates the most affordable, comfortable and realistic VR headsets."

Malamed's tenure at Activision spanned from 1995 to 2011. He started as an associate producer but was promoted as technical director for Zork Nemesis for the PC in his first year. After that, he moved on to be Creative Director for Zork Grand Inquisitor, then Global Brand Manager for all Star Trek projects. He then helped create the Call of Duty franchise as Sr. Executive Producer in 2000 to 2003. He eventually became Senior Vice President and Head of Development in 2011.

"With 18 years in the video game industry, Laird brings a wealth of expertise in producing some of the industry’s biggest and most successful brands and shipping them to market. Laird’s insights will be instrumental in helping Oculus through its accelerated growth as we approach the launch of the Oculus Rift. We are thrilled to have him," said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus.

"It was a good combination of passionate people, products that looked really good, and people who had successfully taken smart ideas and turned them into real ventures," Malamed explained to GamesIndustry on Wednesday. "What the team here at Oculus VR is doing is incredible, solving fantasies that many of us fans of science fiction and computer gaming have had since the earliest experiences of virtual reality in television shows or books or comics. The first and foremost thing that really attracted me to the opportunity here is they've really figured it out."

Indeed they have. Get ready.

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  • ricardok
    I do see a great future for gaming.. :)
  • wolley74
    my only worry is this thing is REALLY close to your eyes, i know LCDs have drastically been easier on the eyes but this is reallllyyy close
  • eklipz330
    this thing is looking better and better day by day. i might be an early adopter, and this may even help pc gaming rise to the top!
  • alidan
    Wolley74my only worry is this thing is REALLY close to your eyes, i know LCDs have drastically been easier on the eyes but this is reallllyyy close
    You have to wear them to really be able appreciate the way it focuses. At least that's my understanding.

    eklipz330this thing is looking better and better day by day. i might be an early adopter, and this may even help pc gaming rise to the top!
    Or could be largely on use by the masses.
    I really hope that the arduous rift and other headmounted displays are staple feature of the next generation of consoles. If only for the fact that if they are on the console they will be on the PC to. As it stands I really really want one but I'm almost afraid that it's never to be used properly, I know doing three I know that new space game, and I know valve is working on it, but what other corporations are really taking in the oculus rift as a staple product.

    I just really hope that the consoles get this.
  • virtualban
    Add there dual camera over the eyes to let the world come in, and hand/finger position sensing, and overlay UI to the world. One can dream, no?
  • unwanted
    While looking at a monitor you're eys are focused at between 30 - 90cm. With the RIFT your're eyes are focused almost at infinity, which is much closer to a you're normal resting focus position so it actually causes less eye-strain looking at the RIFT then looking at a monitor.
  • rantoc
    Just hope he didn't learn to much from Bobby in Activision or that future in gaming could become quite darn dull!
  • bllue
    RIP Oculus. This project is gonna get tainted by this guy, he is afterall, coming from Activision.
  • Draven35
    still wondering if Oculus is dgoing to come with dramamine transdermal patches...